The Cask-Strength Blues

In deep TV announcer voice-over tone:  “The following article contains drug references.  It is intended for mature audiences.  Whisky & Wisdom advises reader discretion.”

I’m reliably informed that alcohol is a drug.  People use it, abuse it, rely on it, swear by it, and at it.  It alters our mental state and makes us do things we might not otherwise have done if we were sober or clear-headed.  For example, the other day, with a few single malts under my belt, I found myself drinking a blend.  Fortunately, there were no witnesses…

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40% ABV whiskies – friend or foe?

I recently read an online review of a whisky that was written by a blogger.   There were a number of comments and references in the review where it was evident the writer was criticising the whisky for being 40% ABV.  And it’s a slippery slope – reviewers & commentators need to be careful to distinguish between “I would have preferred to have seen this whisky bottled at a higher strength; I believe it would benefit from being at a higher proof” and criticising or faulting the whisky merely for being 40%, as though it were a flaw or fault in production.

It raised a few interesting points, and I subsequently had a great dialogue with the reviewer as we discussed the issue further. There is no doubt that many of us prefer whiskies at higher strengths.   Cask-strength whiskies – which only as recently as 10-15 years ago were still scarce and hard to come by – are now as common as nude shots of Miley Cyrus, and once you become accustomed to the higher ABV whiskies, I certainly acknowledge and agree that 40% malts have to work a little harder to keep our tastebuds entertained.

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